5 killed, others hurt in shooting at Maryland newspaper

Updated June 28, 2018 - 11:30 pm

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Five people were killed and others injured when a lone gunman shot through a glass door of a newspaper in Maryland’s capital and opened fire in the newsroom Thursday.

Anne Arundel County police disrupted the shooting, arriving within 60 seconds and entering the office of The Capital Gazette after receiving a call of an active shooter shortly after 2:30 p.m.

One suspect, described as a white male in his late 30s and a resident of Maryland, was in custody and was being interrogated by investigators. Police did not release his name.


 

Multiple media reports, citing law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation, identified the suspect as Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old Laurel, Maryland, man with a longstanding dispute with The Capital Gazette.

A man with the same name had unsuccessfully sued the newspaper and a former reporter, Eric Hartley, for defamation. Hartley is a former Las Vegas Review-Journal staff writer.

Newspaper staff took to social media to relay news of the tragic event.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” reporter Phil Davis wrote on Twitter.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis tweeted.

Police said it was a targeted attack, and they have not ruled out a vendetta against the newspaper, which had received recent threats on social media that indicated violence.

“This was a targeted attack on The Capital Gazette,” Acting Anne Arundel County Police Chief William Krampf said. “This person was prepared to come in today. This person was prepared to shoot people.’’

The gunman was armed with a shotgun and smoke canisters, police said.

Police could not confirm published reports that the suspect had mutilated his fingertips and was identified by facial recognition.

Krampf said the suspect was still being interrogated late Thursday. Police were working on search warrants to enter his Maryland residence.

“The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don’t have any information yet on motive,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said. “To my knowledge, there was no verbal aspect to the incident where he declared his motives or anything else, so at this point we just don’t know.”

Police said three people were also injured in the incident and were being treated at local hospitals.

Lt. Ryan Frashure said no gunfire was exchanged between police and the suspect when they arrived and stopped the shooting incident.

Schuh credited the quick response of arriving law enforcement officers for preventing further deaths and injuries.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Schuh said.

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan were briefed on the shooting and offered condolences to the victims of the latest mass shooting incident.

“I want to praise the local officials who responded so well and perhaps saved other peoples’ lives by getting there while the thing was taking place,” Hogan said.

Police cruisers and law enforcement officers blocked off tree-lined streets near the newspaper office in the historic city just an hour from the nation’s capital and home to the U.S. Naval Academy. Police said SWAT team members evacuated 170 people from the building.

The shooting — which came amid months of verbal and online attacks on the “fake news media” from politicians and others — prompted New York City police to immediately tighten security at news organizations in the nation’s media capital.

At the White House, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said: “There is no room for violence, and we stick by that. Violence is never tolerated in any form, no matter whom it is against.”

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com.

In an interview with The Capital Gazette’s online site, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”


 

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

As investigators tried to piece together what happened, photojournalist Josh McKerrow shared his unshakeable resolve to keep The Capital Gazette publishing for his Annapolis community, tweeting: “There will be a Capital Friday.”

Chase Cook, a reporter, was more blunt. He tweeted: “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or at 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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